Can grief be contagious?

I met Martha Clark Scala at one of the first Esalen Institute workshops I took after our son died by suicide. And it was in that workshop where I found my voice in poetry. "Aftermath," the simple poem I wrote resonated such with Martha, that she wrote the following piece about her brother's death. The poem and the article both appeared first in the Summer 2001 issue of "We Need Not Walk Alone," published by The Compassionate Friends, an organization that provides friendship, understanding, and hope to those going through the natural grieving process. Martha and I have been friends ever since. I’m Not Contagious By Martha Clark Scala​ In the two or three weeks immediately following my brother Nick’s death, I received numerous calls, cards, plants, flowers, and offers of help. My loss sat on the front burner of many wonderful people’s stoves for about 21 days. I was in their thoughts, prayers, and blessings. Unfortunately, many issues and events vie for front-burner status … [Read more...]

May is mental health month

With mental health care on the chopping block, it is important to keep in mind organizations that can help. Here's a list of groups I've compiled, which also include suicide prevention sites. Helpful Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Organizations American Foundation for Suicide Prevention bringchange2mind Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services Healthline NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Stop A Suicide Today Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Association, Inc. The Compassionate Friends The Jed Foundation My son Paul was diagnosed with bipolar disorder soon after he turned twenty-one. And after struggling with it for almost seven years, he took is life at age twenty-seven. Suicide is a huge risk for those suffering with mental illness. We must continue to work hard for health care parity, i.e., that treats physical illness and mental illness equally. It didn't exist when Paul was suf … [Read more...]

In memory: suicide prevention resources

I usually post suicide prevention and mental health resources in December in memory of our son Paul. He would be 43 on his December 31 birthday. This year I’m sharing about the suicide prevention groups I belong to on Facebook. These groups vary in that some are open, secret, or closed. But in all cases they are caring and sensitive to the needs of someone trying to survive the death of a loved one by suicide. If you want to join, just ask, and some kind person in charge will more than likely accept you into the group. I’ve listed these in no particular order except for the first one. I was actively involved with Putting a Face on Suicide as volunteer admin for a couple of years. This organization has been priceless in always remembering our loved ones on their death and birthdays. I look forward to seeing my son’s face on that site on his New Years Eve birthday. Putting a Face on Suicide - A project that lovingly pays tribute to those lost to suicide. 2792 Faces on Day … [Read more...]

So how’s the marketing going?

Since my book launch and signing just after my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, was released in early May, I’ve spent the month of June on a blog tour, coordinated and managed by WOW-Women on Writing. I decided to embark on this tour because I had hosted two other WOW blog tour authors in the last couple of years, and it seemed like a great idea. I’m sure I’ve said before that I’m a me-too kind of person, so there I was again, letting the WOW folks know that I wanted a tour too when my book came out. And actually making that happen was quite easy. All it took was a decision about dates, blog post ideas that included the subject-matter of my book and general writing-related subjects, and $350.00, to cover their advice and counsel about post topics and their picking out and communicating (almost continually) with the blog owners where I would guest post. The big bucks kind of took my by surprise, but very quickly I decided it would be worth it. Also in June, my publishe … [Read more...]